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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – As a result of the tragic death of his wife, Denise, Florida now requires 232 hours of mandatory training for all 9-1-1 telecommunicators. Denise’s husband and President of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation, Nathan Lee, was present at the Nov. 14th graduation of future 9-1-1 telecommunicators that will be the first responders to Southwest Florida citizens plea for help. The 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunications Academy graduation ceremony was hosted by the Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Office. Nathan Lee addressed the room full of graduates, their families, and instructors of the Academy and stressed how important their jobs are and never take any call lightly. “The jobs these people perform are an under-appreciated function of tremendous value to a community and their respective agencies” said Lee. “There is not a more compassionate and dedicated group of people than those in this room.” He finished the event with what he called, “an honor” by passing out their certificates of completion.
Christine Hodges, Training Coordinator for the academy and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said this group of graduates will be the "rising stars” of their respective communications centers. She praised them for their knowledge, compassion, and team leadership abilities. The Academy is hosted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and holds quarterly classes. Ms. Hodges said Nathan will be invited back for the next class graduation on January 14th. This ironically is just 3 days from the 5th year anniversary of his wife’s tragic murder.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2012, all 9-1-1 professionals in Florida have to be state certified by the Florida Department of Health, including 9-1-1 Operators, Dispatchers, Communications Supervisors, as well as any law enforcement officer or fire fighter who might be working in the communications center on a limited basis. After completing a state certified training program, trainees must pass a state exam. They will then be eligible to advance in to a 9-1-1 or dispatch position at their individual agencies, contingent on completing agency specific training protocols.
About the Denise Amber Lee Foundation
The mission of the Denise Amber Lee Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, is to promote and support public safety through uniform training, standardized protocols, defined measurable outcomes and technological advances in the 9-1-1 system. Established in June 2008, in response to the murder of Denise Amber Lee, the foundation seeks to use the emotional power of this senseless tragedy to promote and encourage the use of technology, training, and procedures to reduce the occurrences of human error. The foundation is determined to channel and focus the public outrage of these tragic events to drive rapid change to public policy and procedures. For more information, please visit www.deniseamberlee.org.
About the 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Training Academy
The 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator Training Academy is hosted by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The academy has two graduating classes so far with new 9-1-1 professionals from Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Sanibel PD, Port Authority PD and Florida Highway Patrol attending. The academy teaches basic public safety telecommunications, as well as active shooter, hostage negotiations and handling suicidal callers, weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities and many other areas that touch public safety and its’ responders.
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